Bright and early every Wednesday morning, before some of us are even out of bed, there’s a growing group of men and women who gather at outdoor locations in Portland for a free workout and some early-morning camaraderie.
Portland Sweat Project is all about getting people up and moving, whatever their fitness level, says co-founder Crystal Seaver of Waterboro.
“We come out here every Wednesday at 6:29 a.m., rain or shine, to work out together,” she says.
“Portland Sweat Project is all-inclusive, so any fitness level, any age, kids are welcome, dogs are welcome. Anyone that wants to come, can come here,” says Crystal. “The workout is totally scalable. It’s definitely fun, and you just work to your ability.”
The workouts run year-round (yes, even in the winter) and the location changes each week, from Portland’s East End to Fitzpatrick Stadium, Back Cove, and the steps of City Hall. So the workouts are always changing, too.
“Sometimes we run stairs, sometimes we run hills, sometimes we do things like shovel the parking lot because there was too much snow to do any other workout,” says Crystal. On a recent Wednesday, the group did a Drum Core workout on the steps of Portland’s City Hall, drumming the steps with sticks and moving rhythmically to the beat of the music coming from a DemerBox boombox.
The workouts also often include burpees and jumping jacks, partner pushups and squats. And a whole lot of smiles, energy, and high-fiving.
“It’s awesome, it’s so much fun,” says Mari Balow of Portland.”You meet great people, you get a great workout. There’s no better way to start the day.”
The group is part of a larger fitness movement called November Project, which was started in Boston in 2011 and has since spread to cities around the country and the world. Last summer, Crystal and co-founder Jesse Jamnik decided Portland would be the perfect place for such a group.
When began as three friends has blossomed into a crew of 30-50 any given week, and it continues to grow.
The workouts are also always free. “I just want them to show up and have a good time,” Crystal says.
“It’s the community,” she adds. “It’s everything to do with somebody getting out of bed in the morning and showing up and knowing that they have a group of people around them to support and encourage.”
And that’s worth getting up early for.
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